Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 318

Picture Book: Horton Hatches the Egg and Horton Hears a Who

Author & Illustrator: Dr. Seuss

Summary: Lazy Bird Mayzie takes advantage of dependable Horton. Despite his size, she begs the elephant to sit on her egg while she takes a beach vacation. Horton gently sits on the egg and waits. The weather turns horrid for Horton while Mayzie enjoys herself on a beach and decides to never go back. Through autumn and winter, Horton faithfully sits, reminding himself, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred per cent!” In spring, animals tease Horton. When 3 hunters come and aim their rifles at Horton, he holds his head high and refuses to run away. The hunters are so amazed by this sight that they take the tree, Horton, and the egg all the way to New York. They sell the collection to the circus where it goes on tour all the way down to Florida. There they meet Lazy Bird Mayzie who claims the egg just as it starts hatching. The cracked egg reveals a little Horton with wings, an elephant bird. A happy ending follows. Horton is allowed to go home with his baby.

Horton’s next story has him hearing a very faint call for help from a small speck of dust. Horton gently captures the speck and places it on a clover. A mother kangaroo and baby pass by so Horton tells them about the voice, but they respond with unbelief and disdain. Horton declares, “A person’s a person no matter how small.” Horton realizes the speck is in danger so he plucks the clover and carries it into the jungle. Meanwhile, Horton begins a conversation with the voice on the speck. It is a Who, the Mayor of Who-ville, who is thankful for Horton’s protection. Monkeys overhear Horton talking so they steal the clover and take it to an eagle who flies with it far away and drops it into a field of clover. Horton diligently follows and is able to find the clover after picking millions of them. The Whos report their damage and beg for Horton’s continued protection. Meanwhile, the Kangaroos have convinced others to cage Horton and boil the clover. Horton responds with a plea to the Whos to all shout together so that they can be heard by the other animals. The Whos cry together, “We are here! We are here!” But the other animals can’t hear them. Horton compels them to make more noise, suggesting that someone might be “shirking.” The mayor finds a young, quiet Who so he takes him to the top of a tower and compels him, saying “every voice counts.” Finally, the Whos are loud enough to be heard by the other animals. The kangaroo promptly promises to protect the Whos as well and they are safe.

Hanna’s Comments: I think children will respond easily to these books if they don’t already know them. They likely know the Whos from Who-ville because of How the Grinch Stole Christmas so they already have a connection to these stories. They will be glad to hear that the Whos were saved by the “Smallest of All.” In the book on the left Horton says, “I’ll stay and be faithful.” This statement and others, including Horton’s quotations above, directly relate to messages in our Holy Scriptures. Note that these are quite lengthy picture books. Consider the attention spans of your audience and don’t try to do them both in one sitting.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Random House, 1940 (book on left) 1954 (book on right)

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 64 (book on left) 72 (book on right)

Available in Spanish? For Horton Hears a Who only

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Audio, Videos are available on Youtube.com and there is a feature length movie of Horton Hears a Who. Random House has created a website full of Dr. Seuss activities and information. Here’s the link: www.seussville.com.

PBT Category: Both are Classics

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, action, adoption, awe, babies/children, belonging, betrayal, bonds/connections, caring/tending, challenges, commitment, communication, covenant/promises/vows, dependence/interdependence, differences, difficulties, eggs/seeds, evangelism, faith/faithfulness, fathers, flowers/leaves/trees, helping, heroes, kindness, life, listening, mission, noise/sounds/voice, nurturing, parents/parental love, patience, poaching/stealing/theft, protecting/protection, reverence, righteousness, sacrifice, servant/service/serving, steadfastness, storms, waiting, weather

Scripture Connections: Do not break a vow (Numbers 30:2); wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage (Psalm 27:14)

Idea(s) for Application:  These books connect to scriptures about compassion, faithfulness, commitment, perseverance, protection, and many others. Also, for adult or youth programming, consider checking out The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss by James W. Kemp. 

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